“But what about MY feet?”
I am thankful that God has not answered every prayer I have prayed. I had lunch with my friend Sarah today, and we shared about how we have both prayed, “God, I want this, but I need You to save me from myself.” So often we pray for things, but only our Heavenly Father knows what is truly best for us. Rolland Baker talks about how our Heavenly Father has an eternal perspective and knows much better than we do what will satisfy and delight us. He alone knows the chains that hold us captive and the things that keep us from truly experiencing freedom.
Many times I have noticed that what has been holding me captive is my own selfish self; my own self-important self. God will be doing absolutely incredible things all around me, but I can’t see the forest for the trees. God heals ten people in a church service and I’m thinking, “I’ve suffered for 12 years with pain. Why them and not me? They met You yesterday and I have served You faithfully for years. What about MY pain?” Service after service and event after event I have gone home and cried; I have literally cried because God had “forgotten” about me.
Or I have been in many situations where everyone around me is falling in love with amazing godly people. I have seen the desires of many peoples’ hearts come to fruition, and I go home at night alone, poetically singing to the moon in my sadness. “God, why?” I cry. “What am I doing wrong?”
It’s the older brother syndrome, right? Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. What an amazing story, wouldn’t you agree? This kid walks away from a beautiful inheritance, squanders all that his Father gave him, and yet his Father still welcomes him back. Total second chance. This lost son is now found. Happily ever after, right? This is true for all but one person – the older son, who was more focused on what his Father was not doing for him rather than rejoicing at all that his Father WAS doing.
We grow up so focused on fairness. “Why does he get two pieces of gum and I only get one?” It’s like we are metal detectors of injustice, just looking for an opportunity to complain. And when one comes along, (because they always do), we feel a sense of twisted joy, like we won the lottery. Finally, we are justified – our reasons stand the test. “It’s not fair!” we cry. “It’s an atrocity!” we yell. Suddenly generosity is turned into a crime; grace becomes an insult.
We forget that our God is a just God. “But how can it be fair that the lady next to me gets healed and I don’t?” “What is fair about having to wait so many years for the desire of my heart to come to pass when I have friends who haven’t even left home yet and they find the love of their life?” I can hear Jesus’ words echoing from the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20: “Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?” I am convinced that one of the most dangerous poisons of a relationship with God is jealousy. We compare and we compare, but at the end of the day we discover that God makes no comparisons.
We all have our own race to run. We all have our own calling to fulfill. How can we do all that God has planned for us if we are constantly looking at those around us and not at Him? How can we obey Him fully if we are focused on what He is NOT doing rather than on what He IS doing?
I was challenged today as I listened to Heidi Baker talk about her son Aselmo, who has club feet. One day she took him with her to a village in Mozambique to do outreach ministry. Her son, who could barely walk, said with authority, “God is healing someone’s feet!” It didn’t take them long to locate the little boy he was talking about – a young child of about three years old. Aselmo stretched out his hand and helped this little boy to his feet and God instantly healed the three-year-old’s ailments. Great rejoicing broke out, more in Aselmo than anyone. God had truly worked a miracle! What a thing to rejoice about!
And yet…Aselmo hobbled away from that experience with club feet. God had used him that day to heal another little boy with the same condition, but he remained the same. What if Aselmo had heard from God that He wanted to heal someone’s feet and Aselmo had responded, “But what about MY feet?” It is highly possible that there would have been two crippled little boys at the end of the day where now there is only one. Aselmo didn’t get in the way of the miracle that God wanted to do, and because of his humility and simple obedience, God used him to totally heal that three-year-old boy’s feet.
I read in a later account that God brought together people from around the world to raise funds for Aselmo to see a surgeon in South Africa, and although it was a long and painful process, his feet are now healed. God could have touched Aselmo in a moment and healed him; but instead the race that He had for Aselmo to run brought many more people into the story and now his testimony is told world-wide and has encouraged thousands of people. How cool is that?
I have no idea how many nights Aselmo cried out to God to heal his legs. I don’t know the tears that were shed behind closed doors; only God knows that. What I do know is that God was able to use him to bring healing to another little boy because Aselmo was not focused on what God was NOT doing, but rather was open to what God WAS doing. And because Aselmo was free from his own expectations of how God works, He was able to celebrate with freedom the healing of another life that is so precious to God.
I WANT THAT! Don’t you? I want to be free from myself so that God might use me to touch others. The race that God has called me to run is entirely unique; it can’t be compared to those around me. I have all the riches I need available to me every day in the presence of God! He is doing so many AMAZING things right now and I don’t want to miss it because my focus is off. I don’t want to miss the miracles that God is doing all around me because I have a jaded attitude and unmet expectations. I challenge you to lay your pride on the altar of sacrifice today and truly surrender your SELF to God. Freedom can only come through surrender, and God can do so much more through someone with a pure heart.
What does it say in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:8? “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” I don’t want to waste another moment. I want to see God today! Stop complaining about all that God is NOT doing, and delight with the heart of a child in all that God IS doing…because He is truly doing incredible things.